Speed dating comes to Rush City

Candles, rose petals and tablecloths set a romantic tone at the Rush Hour Bar & Grill in Rush City on Wednesday, March 13. Meet Your Match was there as a new and innovative opportunity to meet that someone special in East Central Minnesota. Pictured, from left: business partner Denny Betterley, Meet Your Match owner Jessie Ruckle and her daughter Brittanie. Photo by Melanie M. Hedberg

Candles, rose petals and tablecloths set a romantic tone at the Rush Hour Bar & Grill in Rush City on Wednesday, March 13. Meet Your Match was there as a new and innovative opportunity to meet that someone special in East Central Minnesota. Pictured, from left: business partner Denny Betterley, Meet Your Match owner Jessie Ruckle and her daughter Brittanie. Photo by Melanie M. Hedberg

By Mary Bailey/Forest Lake Times—

Within a few minutes of meeting someone, you probably know whether you’re interested in them or not. Sometimes less than that.

So why bother with online dating, with all its horror stories, or a long, drawn-out first date?

“In 10 minutes, you know,” Jessie Ruckle said.

Ruckle is bringing speed dating to East Central Minnesota through her company, Meet Your Match, which held an event Wednesday, March 13, at the Rush Hour Bar & Grill in Rush City. Several singles events also have been scheduled in North Branch, Chisago City and Forest Lake.

“People really need to meet face to face,” Ruckle said in a phone conversation. “Some people look for what’s inside; some say their date must be super handsome. This way, they get to pick and choose.”

In speed dating, men and women come to an event where they are paired up for a set time, only a few minutes, and then move on to meet someone else. By the end of the evening, each man has sat with each woman for just enough time to decide if they want to continue getting to know each other or not.

But there’s more to it than that. Ruckle says she strives to make the whole evening entertaining. There are jokes and stories about dating. She provides a cold supper, such as sandwiches, chips and a light beverage.

The daters get breaks between the sessions, and drawings offer prizes such as wine and gift certificates.

The event begins around 6:30 p.m., when the speed daters have a half hour to mingle and to fill out the required waiver. It ends about three hours later. In between, there’s time for six or seven rounds of 10-minute sessions.

And in cases where a speed dating couple decides “this just isn’t it” long before the 10-minute mark, trivia cards help pass the time.

Each Meet Your Match evening costs $19.95 per person.

With Denny Betterley, her fiance and business partner, Ruckle has scheduled speed dating events in several local cities. Events have been held at Stars and Strikes in Wyoming, Bunkies Bowling in Chisago City and Friar Tuck’s in Forest Lake.

Ruckle said she worked in information technology for 13 years until her cardiologist strongly advised that she change her lifestyle. She and Betterley live in North Branch, where he owns St. Croix Valley Machine.

“It’s gonna work,” Ruckle said of her new business venture. “I can’t wait for a couple months to go by, when I will have all these good stories to tell.”

She has already received phone calls asking when she will be bringing speed dating to other Minnesota towns. “Our goal is to be in Princeton and Milaca within two months,” she said.

For more information, call 763-244-9257 or visit meetyourmatchin10.com. The website includes the waiver that must be signed for legal reasons.

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